Team Sky's Ian Stannard has confirmed that his season is over and there is no chance of him recovering from injury in time to ride the Tour de France in July.
The Briton, who was to be a key part of team-mate Chris Froome's plan to defend the Tour title, has been out of action since April after suffering a fractured vertebra in a bad crash at the Gent-Wevelgem one-day Classic.
The 26-year-old was disappointed but said a spine specialist had told him the injury could have been career-ending, explaining: "He said I'd been really lucky not to suffer any permanent damage because my vertebra had been quite badly damaged.
"I've had no choice but to wait for my body to fix itself. As far as I understand, if I'd had surgery on it, it would have ended my cycling career because the spine and joints would have stiffened up to such a degree that I wouldn't be able to get into the right position for cycling."
He added he hoped to be back in training before the end of the season. "I've got to have another X-ray at the 12-week mark to check everything is healing OK and they can guarantee I won't be putting myself at risk," he said.
In the Giro d'Italia, Italian Marco Canola won the 13th stage after he and two breakaway companions took the peloton by surprise.
Canola outsprinted Colombian Jackson Rodriguez and Frenchman Angelo Tulik, who finished second and third, with France's Nacer Bouhanni taking the sprint 11 seconds behind to strengthen his lead in the points classification.
Colombian Rigoberto Uran retained the overall leader's pink jersey. Today's 14th stage is a mountainous 164km.Reuse content